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Aug 27, 2004 10:58 PM

Whey Butter (vs. cream butter)

  • c

I was just on vacation in Vermont and picked up some whey butter from a cheesemaker I visited. They label it as "old fashioned" but I clearly understand it to be the economic use of a byproduct (recycling, if you will). In trying to find out more, I'm finding that perhaps more butter today may be whey based rather than sweet cream based. So my husband and I collectively wonder the following things:

How does the fat content differ? I found on one site that whey butter is 82% butterfat, but where's that all coming from? Is whey that high in fat, or is it additionally combined with cream?

How does it differ for baking and sauteeing? Does it have the same solids that brown for brown butter?

Are there still more bases for making butter beside whey or cream?

What is "old fashioned" about the whey butter? Where and when was it made from whey?

Finally, is there much more whey butter on the market than I would have formerly assumed?


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  1. Googling "whey butter" (the parentheses are important) will tell you all you need to know. A good link is below.

    I think this is the story:
    When milk is curdled to produce cheese, the solid curds trap most of the butterfat (and go on to become the cheese). The liquid whey is a waste product, often used for pig feed. But some milk fat remains in the whey. This is recovered (it floats), and made into butter. Because the curdling process normally produces some acid (or uses acid to effect the curdling) the resulting butter contains more acid than butter made from fresh cream. It may have a "cheesy" flavor and aroma. It is useful for commercial baking processes.


    2 Replies
    1. re: Joel Teller

      In Oaxaca I had "requeson" which is a cheese made from whey. It had a fluffy large curd with a wonderful flavor from being cooked over a wood fire for 12 hours.

      1. re: snackish

        Ricotta is also made from whey. See link below.


    2. a

      Thanks for this post.
      I have seen whey butter for sale by a cheesemaker at my local farmers' market and have always been curious as to how it was produced. I somehow didn't think there was enough substance to the whey to make butter.
      Now I know.
      Thank you.